Vulnerability index
A vulnerability index is a composite of indices
Index may refer to:-Business:* Index , a defunct UK catalogue retailer formerly owned by the Littlewoods group and known as Littlewoods Index* INDEX, a market research fair in Lucknow, India* Index fund, a collective investment scheme...

, also referred to as integrated indices, which are quantitative indicators similar to scales, which, when entered into a formula, deliver a single numerical result which can be used for triage (prioritization) and policy analysis. Through their use, ““diverse issues can be combined into a standardised framework…making comparisons possible”. For instance, variable from physical science can be combined with social, medical and even psychological variables to evaluate potential complications in disaster planning contexts. The development of vulnerability indexes as a policy planning tool occurred at the instance of the United Nations Environmental Program and one of the participants in the early task forces has also conducted secondary research documenting the evolution of the analytic tool through various stages. The term and methodology then proceeded to promulgate through medical literature and social work as discussed by Dr. James O'Connell of the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless.

Basic methodology

The basic methodology of constructing a vulnerability index is described by Briguglio and is quite simple and not without antecedents. Different relative importance is assigned to the different factors (weighting). A cumulative score
Score may refer to:*Score , a 2006 album by Dream Theater*Score , a number of points achieved in a sporting event or game*Score , a 1972 sexplotaition film*Score , a pornographic magazine...

 is then generated. Through application of variable scenarios decision trees can be developed reflecting alternative policy options.Much of the original research has been evaluated by Lino Briguglio and presenters at Oxford, providing a body of secondary source material which is known primarily to workers in specialized areas of development.

Earlier use

A modern concept of a composite vulnerability index grew out of the work of South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), Fiji, and the Expert Group on Vulnerability Index affiliated with the United Nations. In response to a call made in the Barbados Plan of Action, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

A prominent observer and participant in development of the vulnerability index model is University of Malta researcher Briguglio for international organizations of small island developing states. UM also hosts the Islands and Small States Institute, Foundation for International Studies,. Other institutional participants included the New Zealand Official Development Assistance (NZODA) Programme In 1996, the concept of a composite vulnerability index had been taken up by policy analysts in the Commonwealth but still on only a tentative basis. In 1997, official background papers of the SIDS unit reflected the term “vulnerability index” at least internally. It was also advanced in Commonwealth channels. By 1997, the term was approved for publication by the staff of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in the SG’s Report on Development of a Vulnerability Index for SIDS. This concept was subsequently adopted by other experts in that field. and explicitly named as such.

In a 1999 Technical Report for SOPAC, Kaly et al. discussed more specially designated vulnerability indexes. A subsection of that report was entitled “Vulnerability index – environment” and the report also discussed a newly minted concept of “Environmental vulnerability index
Environmental Vulnerability Index
The Environmental Vulnerability Index is a measurement devised by the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission , the United Nations Environment Program and others to characterize the relative severity of various types of environmental issues suffered by 243 enumerated individual nations and...


Extension of the general concept

IPCC may refer to:*Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of the United Nations*Independent Police Complaints Commission, of England and Wales*Irish Peatland Conservation Council...

 embraced vulnerability as a key category in 2001. A 2002 paper then applied a vulnerability indexing model to analysis of vulnerability to sea level rise for a US coastal community. At a 2008 Capacity Building
Capacity building
Capacity building also referred to as capacity development is a conceptual approach to development that focuses on understanding the obstacles that inhibit people, governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations from realizing their developmental goals while enhancing...

 Seminar at Oxford, the “Climate Vulnerability Index” had been fully developed and was presented with an application to the protection of tourist economies, which may be important to small island states and others. By the time of this seminar, vulnerability indexes were established as tools of governance .

In medicine

A “Histopathological Plaque Vulnerability Index (HPVI) “ was proposed in a 2005 paper by Tang, et al., entitled Local Maximal Stress Hypothesis and Computational Plaque Vulnerability Index for Atherosclerotic Plaque Assessment. Thereafter, the term was adopted by Dr Jim O’Connell, who is author of a textbook on healthcare in shelters. From his post at Boston’s Healthcare for the Homeless, the model was adopted by Common Ground, an advocacy organization in New York City which has promulgated its organizing model using the vulnerability index to, Santa Monica, New Orleans, Washington, DC, and what their literature refers to as “Los Angeles County’s infamous Skid Row”. It utilizes only eight key key health indicators puts a chronically homeless person at significant risk of dying. The model is now being adapted to and utilized in Australia, with the on-site support Common Ground personnel and has been used in registry week drives in the “ inner city areas” of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

See also

Host factor
Host factor
Host factor is a medical term referring to the traits of an individual person or animal that affect susceptibility to disease, especially in comparison to other individuals. The term arose in the context of infectious disease research, in contrast to "organism factors", such as the virulence and...

Epidemiology is the study of health-event, health-characteristic, or health-determinant patterns in a population. It is the cornerstone method of public health research, and helps inform policy decisions and evidence-based medicine by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive...

Emergency medicine
Emergency medicine
Emergency medicine is a medical specialty in which physicians care for patients with acute illnesses or injuries which require immediate medical attention. While not usually providing long-term or continuing care, emergency medicine physicians diagnose a variety of illnesses and undertake acute...

Triage or ) is the process of determining the priority of patients' treatments based on the severity of their condition. This rations patient treatment efficiently when resources are insufficient for all to be treated immediately. The term comes from the French verb trier, meaning to separate,...

Disaster planning

Mortality rate
Mortality rate
Mortality rate is a measure of the number of deaths in a population, scaled to the size of that population, per unit time...

Standardized mortality ratio
Standardized mortality ratio
The standardized mortality ratio or SMR in epidemiology is the ratio of observed deaths to expected deaths, where expected deaths are calculated for a typical area with the same age and gender mix by looking at the death rates for different ages and genders in the larger population.The SMR may be...

Infectious disease
Infectious disease
Infectious diseases, also known as communicable diseases, contagious diseases or transmissible diseases comprise clinically evident illness resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic biological agents in an individual host organism...

Immunology is a broad branch of biomedical science that covers the study of all aspects of the immune system in all organisms. It deals with the physiological functioning of the immune system in states of both health and diseases; malfunctions of the immune system in immunological disorders ; the...

Israel Trauma Coalition
Israel Trauma Coalition
Israel Trauma Coalition was created in 2002, on the initiative of the UJA-Federation of New York. Expanding from direct care to encompass professional training and community-wide interventions, ITC has consistently evolved its scope to address broader issues and needs.The mission of the Israel...

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